The ICCAGE (Intercultural Communicative Competence - a Competitive Advantage for Global Employability) project is founded by the European Union, in the framework of the Erasmus+ KA2 Strategic Partnership Programme. (Project number: 2015-1-CZ01-KA203-013992)
Aims of the project:
The main objective is to innovate Intercultural Communication (ICC) language teaching and learning in Higher Education (HE) in the light of new technologies, new participatory cultures of learning, and global employability.
In an increasingly globalised world of intercultural dialogue and international business, HE is facing challenges such as communication barriers, cultural stereotypes, prejudice, identity conflict and language deficiency which compounds the lack of skills to interact successfully. Only through the acquisition of ICC can these problems be minimised. Although the need for the acquisition of ICC is clearly stated in the EU language policy, this concept is wide, leading to multiple interpretations and solutions for ICC courses across European HE institutions. Sharing knowledge of the practices at other HE institutions is essential for further innovation.
Currently, courses taught in European HE institutions face multiple challenges. A significant factor is the lack of in-service support for university educators in the ICC area, which could either be approached through language courses or transversally in the curricula; and local contexts of cultural and linguistic homogenisation in European countries such as Hungary and the Czech Republic, that would require strategies to motivate teachers and students to go beyond their own cultural comfort zone. Further challenges include the changing intercultural communication needs of the global job market; the need to use and integrate new ICT in HE methodologies and enhance electronic literacy; and the perception of English/Spanish as a Lingua Franca to participate in ICC.
During the CEDEFOP Study Visit nº 182/2014 in Budapest, participants came to realise that there was a significant shortfall in the training of university educators. This need means that valuable skills are not being transferred to students, hindering their competitive advantage in the job market. As educational qualifications are still the best insurance against unemployment, both teachers’ experience and students’ feedback over many years have shown that the current way of lecturing is not the most effective way of transferring intercultural knowledge to students. Therefore, the project’s target groups are:
1) Language and intercultural HE educators at the partner institutions in the partner countries. They need to learn to analyse, work with different cultural concepts, challenge existing beliefs and achieve synergies by sharing knowledge and experience transnationally. The implementation of intercultural elements into HE curricula and setting priorities in language teaching will lead to educators better assisting students prepare for a global job market.
2) Students of 4 partner universities, including Erasmus exchange students. Enhanced ICC will better enable them to develop critical awareness to approach transcultural environments; engage with other students in transcultural discussions to prepare them for global employability with skills in negotiation, understanding, teamworking, and cross-cultural adaptation. This project adds a valuable resource to fighting the unemployment and increases the chances of young graduates at the job market.
The project applies ICT and use telecollaboration and participatory strategies into the HE EU context. ICT will be used as both a means and tool of the virtual international project university team-work in the field of ICC and language learning/teaching. Previous experience from the participating universities reflects the need to develop new teaching formats with the potential to be more effective.
The project is aimed at developing skills and competences which are key factors of academic and professional success. Thus it represents a major step in the modernisation of HE and in achieving the goal of enhancing the employability of young people in the global job market.
The project enables institutions to vary the curricula - both content and methodology - and enrich the traditional in-class teaching approaches. It supports individual skills and pace, academic and personal growth, foster tolerance, negotiating and problem solving abilities while increasing the responsibilities of students to be motivated and continue long-life learning/teaching.
It develops ICC content and methodology in homogenous European cultures whose languages are not widely spoken in Europe as either a first or foreign language (Czech and Hungarian) and strengthens their interculturality and global understanding. The collaboration cultures with multilingual and multicultural societies, such as Spain or Portugal with other language speaking cultures in the world will have positive impact on the mutual perception of intercultural aspects.
ICC is generally developed with English as the Lingua Franca, so it will be valuable to include another foreign language in the project such as Spanish and thus support the concept of a multilingual environment and contributing towards meeting EU policy on language education and better job opportunities.
Finally, this project further develops the concept of some successfully implemented projects such as the Erasmus Multilateral Project INTENT (Integrating Telecollaborative Networks into Foreign Language Higher Education) and the INTERACT project on Intercultural Active Citizenship Education .
The project homepage has been created and edited by Ágnes Pál (Budapest Business School).
We would like to acknowledge the work of all our colleagues who participated in the project at the partner institutions and we are also grateful for the contribution of the colleagues from other institutions, involved in the process of piloting and implementation of the modules:
IPCB, IPG, IPP, ISCAP-IPP, ESHTE, UNL:
Liliana Andrade Silva
Luís Vicente Garcia
Mercedes López Vázquez
Manuel Moreira da Silva
Maria del Carmen Arau Ribeiro
Maria Teresa Herrero Simal
Spain: University of Leon
Ana Rosa Gago
University of Salamanca
Yeray González Plasencia
Budapest Business School:
Bartáné Varga, Éva
Kovátsné Loch, Ágnes
Special thanks to László Varga and Éva Huj for their help in the project management at the Budapest Business School.
Finland - Tampere University of Applied Sciences:
Norway -The University of Tromso (ALTA Campus):
Poland - Pedagogical University of Cracow:
K. Ingrid Patkányova